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Road trips: Things to do near Palmer’s Florida Campus

3/24/2011 (Archived)

Now that summer is in the air, it’s a great time to get out and take a road trip! Here are just a few things you can do in the areas around Palmer’s Florida Campus that don’t include the usual Orlando/Disney fair. Included are the miles away from campus for each location.

Tomoka State Park – Ormond Beach, Fla. (23.05 miles)
Tomoka State Park offers fishing, boating, canoeing, nature trails and picnicking. It’s located near the confluence of the Tomoka and Halifax rivers.

Blue Springs State Park – Orange City, Fla. (31.27 miles)
Blue Spring State Park has more than 2,600 acres and includes the largest spring on the St. Johns River. It is a designated Manatee Refuge (mid-November through March) and the winter home to a number of West Indian Manatees. Here you can swim, snorkel, scuba dive, fish, canoe, boat, hike, camp, picnic and more.

Winter Park, Fla. (53.68 miles)
Winter Park is located 20 miles northeast of Orlando and offers a variety of museums, upscale shops, cafes, restaurants, nightlife and more. Festivals occur year-round, including the upcoming 20th Annual Florida Film Festival (April 8-17).

St. Augustine, Fla. (60.48 miles)
St. Augustine was founded in 1565 by Spanish explorer and admiral Pedro Menendez de Aviles and is “the oldest continuously occupied European-established city and port in the continental United States.” Thus, the city has a great number of Spanish Colonial buildings as well as beautiful 19th century architecture. While in historic St. Augustine, be sure to visit the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum, Castillo de San Marcos, Old Jail Museum (located in the Old St. Johns County Jail), Dow Museum of Historic Houses, Colonial Spanish Quarter, World Golf Hall of Fame, St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park, and more.

Pioneer Florida Museum & Village – Dade City, Fla. (132.13 miles)
Walk through Florida’s history at Pioneer Florida Museum & Village. The grounds consist of 16 acres and include the main museum, a small 1800’s village of pioneer buildings, and antique artifacts.

Looking for something a little different? Check out these unusual attractions:

Haunts of the World’s Most Famous Beach – Daytona Beach, Fla. Learn about Daytona Beach's ghost stories as well as history during this fascinating walking tour.

The Fountain of Youth – St. Augustine, Fla. (61.34 miles)
Ponce de Leon’s legendary Fountain of Youth is actually a spring, but you can enjoy much more than a drink from the “fountain” when you visit. The grounds are also an archaeological park that has exhibits and a planetarium.

Gatorland – Orlando, Fla. (69.20 miles)
Founded in 1949, Gatorland is a Florida staple. It’s located on 110-acres and is still owned by founder Owen Godwin’s family. After venturing through the “gaping gator mouth entrance,” you’ll enter a world consisting of thousands of alligators and crocodiles, reptile shows, breeding marsh, aviary, petty zoo, swamp walk, educational programs and more.

The Airstream Ranch – Along Interstate 4, Dover, Fla. (125.08 miles)
Called the Stonehenge of RV fans, The Airstream Ranch consists of seven and a half silver Airstream recreational vehicles upended from the ground in a row.

Bowling Ball House/Whimzeyland – Safety Harbor, Fla. (158.41 miles)

You have to see this house (and the surrounding ones that make up Whimzeyland) to believe it. Artists Todd Ramquist and Kiaralinda transformed an average house into a a whimsical artist landscape, complete with hand-painted bowling balls, colorful sculptures and architectural embellishments.

Burt Reynolds and Friends Museum – Jupiter, Fla. (176.72 miles)
Whether you're a fan of Burt Reynolds or a sucker for 1970s nostalgia, you won't want to miss the Burt Reynolds and Friends Museum in Jupiter. Here you can see Reynolds' People's Choice awards, Golden Globes and the canoe from the movie "Deliverance." Why is this Hollywood icon's museum in a small town in Florida? He grew up nearby. According to Roadside America, Reynolds himself put up many of the photos on display. Check out this blog post from someone who visited the museum recently: http://thedroidyourelookingfor.wordpress.com/2011/03/16/reynolds-rap-visiting-the-burt-reynolds-friends-museum/.